Portstewart Baptist Church will welcome ‘Let’s Sing Gospel’ choir with Barazina Youth Choir in concert on 24th January, and if the concert presented by the two choirs in Drumreagh Presbyterian Church last Friday night is anything to go by, the audience is in for a treat!
Singzina, the teenage section of the Barazina Youth Choir, kicked off Friday’s event with three songs.
This was their debut performance and their confidence, sweet voices and close harmony showed what a good job Ian
Hanna has done in teaching them. Denise Rosborough founder of Barazina always had the desire to give young people the chance, not just to sing, but to perform, be part of a choir and enjoy using their talents to encourage and uplift. Look out for these young people in the future; creative energy in abundance. The choir is still recruiting and anyone interested should make contact through Barazina.com or Singzina Facebook page.
The young people were followed by ‘Let’s Sing Gospel’ in their fourth annual concert with a set of songs chosen and arranged by musical director Jonny Boyd. Let’s Sing Gospel have reached new heights of performance this year, performing with much more energy and expression. Their enjoyment at singing praise was obvious from their faces throughout the performance.
The choir was accompanied, as in the past, by keyboard maestro Jonny and his band and this year they were joined by a five piece brass section adding dramatically to the musical experience. There is always the danger that a bigger band might be too dominant and the choir lost in the overall sound, but the arrangements were so skilfully put together by Jonny that the brass complemented the choir instead of dominating them.
They provided sensitive backing for the softer songs and power when it was needed in upbeat numbers such as ‘Blessing and Honour’, ‘We Declare Your Name’ and ‘I’ve Got a Song’. Sean Boyle from Festival Productions, who handled the sound, did a terrific job in balancing choir and band ensuring a quality musical experience for the packed church
which provided an ideal venue for this type of event.
Thanks must go to the minister and committee of the church for allowing the choir to ‘take over’ for the three days it takes to set up and run such an event.
Soloist Hanna Hamilton despite nursing a chest infection sang beautifully in her rendering of the Whitney Houston song, ‘I Love the Lord’ and showed her versatility in taking the lead in ‘Healer in The House’ and ‘Oh Freedom’. Hopefully she will have recovered sufficiently to be able to perform again in Portstewart.
Chris Robinson has appeared as a soloist with the choir for three years. Chris’ voice has matured and his confidence has grown so it is no surprise that he could take a nineteen century hymn like ‘Blessed Assurance’ and give it his own interpretation. It might have made hymn’s composer, Fanny Crosby, turn in her grave but the Drumreagh audience loved it. Michael Buble, eat your heart out!
Orlagh McQuillan’s debut solo with ‘Let’s Sing Gospel’ was the modern worship song, ‘My Troubled Soul’ which showcased her rich alto voice. We look forward to hearing more from Orlagh on Saturday.
The concert closed with ‘Yahweh’, a beautiful song that began with a soft melody and close harmonies describing the birth of Jesus and built to a crescendo as 112 voices, raised the roof of the new church in expressing ‘Now He Lives Again’.
The non-auditioned community choir, drawn from as far away as Castledawson, get together each November for ten practices to prepare for their concerts in the early New Year and these Saturday afternoon rehearsals are the highlight of the week for many members. They are a tight knit group who enjoy singing under the direction of conductor Tony Morrison, affectionately known to the choir as ‘the arm waver’!
It is credit to his ability and commitment that he can turn his hand to this type of music having conducted the Cantemus choir in a concert of classical music in Star of the Sea at Christmas and is equally comfortable conducting choral evensong in cathedrals throughout the country.
Portstewart are in for a special evening! Some tickets are still available in Faith Mission and the Causeway School of Music in Railway Road, Coleraine and Robert Gault, Church Street, Ballymoney.